The USA’s insane approach to lethal weapons is, from a psychological perspective, quite fascinating. US citizens have normalized levels of violence and the resulting widespread social trauma. It’s expected that children will be taught active shooter drills and the majority of the population go along with it. The rest of the world looks at the USA in much the same way one would look at a drooling halfwit sawing his own leg off: with a mixture of horror and sadness.

So why is this utterly insane situation something the USA can never (and will never) change? There are so very many factors involved. First of all, the Republican Party is bought & paid for by the NRA and comprises venal morons who care about nothing other than clinging to the illusion of power — they back Trump for the same reason.

Secondly, US culture is weighed down with guns. Several years ago, when video rental stores still existed, I went through the “Family Comedy” section of my local store and found that 37% of dust jackets featured at least one person holding a gun. In Family Comedy. Hollywood loves guns because it’s a lazy scriptwriter’s way of adding drama.

Then there’s the fetishization of the Constitution. Instead of seeing it as a first attempt and recognizing that as times change, Constitutions must also change, US citizens largely regard it as a holy book. If the holy books says something, we must obey. Of course this is stupid, but so many US citizens are also religious so the habit of blind unthinking obedience to written instructions is automatic and unquestioned.

Fourthly, because so few US citizens travel abroad or know anything about other OECD nations (never mind the rest of the world…) they don’t understand how dysfunctional and aberrant US culture actually is. For them, it’s normal, and humans adapt to insane situations once they’re normalized.

It is, sadly, an intractable problem. The USA will always experience at least 30,000 gunshot deaths per year, the GoP will always pretend these are caused by mental health, food allergies, astrological signs, or whatever, and no one will ever change anything.

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Anyone who enjoys my articles here on Medium may be interested in my books Why Democracy Failed and The Praying Ape, both available from Amazon.

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